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May 24, 2006 » 12:23 am

A Lynne Truss Moment

For once, my infrequent blogging will work to my advantage. I had a Lynne Truss moment at a talk I gave the other day, and since I’ve given a bunch of talks over the past month — all unblogged — I can write about the incident here without revealing too much about who the offender was or where or when it happened. And no, it had nothing to do with punctuation. In Lynne Truss‘s preface to Eats, Shoots & Leaves, she tells a story about how she was autographing books and a woman in line started talking about how little she knew about punctuation, and how she wished there were some way for her to learn. Apparently, she went on and on as Truss dropped several not-so-subtle hints that this was what her book was for. The woman finally walked away without purchasing a book.    (KIT)

Recently, I gave a talk about collaboration that was fairly well-received. It’s a fairly common pattern — people come expecting to hear me talk dreamily about the latest online tool, but instead, get an earful on process, engagement, culture, and the bottom line. Because their expectations are low to begin with and because I surprise them, people enjoy the talk. (I also like to think that I’m a better than average speaker, but I’ll let others speak to that.)    (KIU)

In any case, I told several stories about transforming organizational culture and ways to think about collaboration. I talked about how fear is a huge barrier to adopting technology, and how peer-to-peer learning is the best way to overcome that fear. I mentioned tools a few times, but mostly at a high level.    (KIV)

After the talk, a woman in her 50s approached me and just stared for a while with this creepy-looking smile. Then she started telling me about how she couldn’t log into her bank’s web site. I thought she was reinforcing my earlier point about fear, but I slowly realized that she was asking me for tech support. I was stunned at first, then I actually tried to help her, but there was nothing I could do, and when I explained this to her, she gave me this very annoyed look and stalked off. Amazing.    (KIW)

Just to end this post on a positive, my friend Cindy, who gave me Eats, Shoots & Leaves, turns 29 for a second time this Thursday. Happy birthday, Cindy!    (KIX)

Oh, and Lloyd, I will eventually post my notes from my WikiWednesday talk earlier this month, I promise.    (KIY)

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